Monday, May 20, 2013

Yes, We Are Still Out There

We are still here, folks.  Just have been really busy, or had no internet service.  And now I have so many photos to show you, I am frustrated because after adding them to this post, half the photo is black.  Of course, Google has changed their photo addition format yet again, although, in my opinion, it worked just fine.  Sheesh.
Anyway, until I get that resolved, I'll fill you in with words.
We drove from Bastrop, TX to Lavon Lake, a COE CG in Wylie, TX to meet Ron and Donna.  They used to live in Dallas, and wanted to show us the Stockyards in Fort Worth and Dealey Plaza in Dallas among other things. 
Wednesday we had left Ron's brother's home in Blossom, TX and stopped in Wagoner, OK.  We made a stop at a cool store called Atwoods Ranch and Home where three of us bought cowboy boots for a great price!  [Now I just need a horse...] That stop put us back quite a bit mileage-wise, so it was a long 9 hour drive to get there Thursday night, as Ron had an appointment on Friday.  We are now parked at our friends, Donna and Ron's daughter's house in Fayette, Missouri, enjoying the beautiful farm land with rolling hills, pastures with horses and cattle, millions of birds, hummers everywhere and threats of tornadoes.  We could do without that last one.  Bad storms last night, but beautiful this morning.  Bad storms are predicted tonight, too, but there is a cellar in the farmhouse we can run to. 
We will be staying here a week or so, but need to be somewhere to pick up our grandson soon to have a two week visit with us.  More on that later...
Another thunderstorm is upon us, so I'm signing off.  If anyone knows what's up with photos, I'd appreciate a comment or email....

Monday, May 6, 2013

Back in Civilization

Saturday, May 4 was our last day of gate guarding.  We spent 70 days straight out in the wilderness with only three days off between jobs.  We are glad we did it, but we're glad it's over.  Now we get to spend all that money we made...

Our impressions:  loved the wildlife, turkeys, bobcats, numerous birds, javelinas, boars, deer, armadillos, turtles and all of them Texas sized.  We had no contact with any illegal immigrants, although we were warned on our last job about a chase near the river.  Only the Sheriff came by to ask which way was out, as he was lost.  We could help with that.

We only had two night-time thunderstorms in all that time. They were spectacular storms, made more visible because of the wide open skies.  The last storm had non-stop lightning (which I loved watching) and shortly we saw a large fire about 1/4 mile from us.  It was in the direction of a pumping station, but we knew there was no flare on those pumps.  It wasn't moving in any direction, and wasn't getting larger, but we called 911 anyway.  The Fire Marshall arrived in 5 minutes, with the Sheriff close behind.  In about 10 minutes an oil company supervisor showed up telling us he received a signal of malfunction on the site.  I thought he was extremely brave going in there, I mean that fire was large.  The Sheriff said we did the right thing, because last month there was a real oil fire that required lots of manpower to put out, as no one reported it.

That storm created some mud that the trucks drove through leaving huge ruts.  I got on my rubber boots and went out to be 5 years old and play in the mud. 

One morning a herd of turkeys came running toward us, around the front of the coach and off on a side road.

Sun rises and sun sets were also beautiful.

This little guy came out at dusk and was totally oblivious to my approach.  I was getting closer and closer until I stepped on a thorn branch which went right through my Topsiders.  There are some wicked thorns out there.  There are armadillos in Florida, but this guy was about twice as big.  

I am pleased to say we never saw a snake of any kind.  Plenty of pictures were shown to us on oil men's phones of gigantic snakes they had killed, but none were interested in our neck of the woods.  Whew.
We were released from our job on Saturday and C-R-A-W-L-E-D  for 2 miles on that dirt, rutted road at 10 mph until we hit pavement and rolled into the gate guard yard around 6 pm. There were no hookups at the yard, and that was no problem until we hit the generator button which gives us 50 amps, the generator started right up, but the 110 didn't kick in.  No 'Set Clock' on the microwave.  Huh??  Called on our go-to guy, Ron, but he was stumped.  We checked our generator troubleshooting guide.  No answer.  So we called Newmar and Jordan suggested we get our volt tester out to check the Transfer Switch in the electrical bay.  But we couldn't get the cover off, which was a sign we were probably not supposed to.  So we got our last meal at Choke Canyon BBQ across the street, had a quiet evening, and slept very well in our quiet parking lot.  The employees arrived in the morning, and Gary went to ask Joe, who suggested checking the GFIC switches.  All were OK in the coach, but my smart hubby said "I think there's one more."  He went out to the genset and sure enough, flipped the little switch and ta da!  we had power!  Simple solution.  [Smart guy I married]
Around 10 am we left for Bastrop State Park where we planned to stay two nights.  I was ready for some tall trees, however, in 2011 a devastating fire destroyed over 11,000 acres of woods and the town.  A windstorm had knocked over power poles which started a fire in the surrounding dry trees.  The fire fighters and trucks were away helping other stations with another fire, so the town was helpless. In all directions during the drive, the dead trees surrounded us.  But the town is coming back, even better. 
our site number 2, FHU !
We chose Bastrop for another reason other than getting Gary's port flushed.  In 1944 Gary's parents were married in the chapel on the Camp Swift Army base.  His mom took the train from North Carolina all the way to Taylor where she was met by her fiancĂ©.  The were married by the Chaplain who, because he had hiked the day before for 10 miles, had such bad blisters on his feet, he asked them if they would mind if he just wore his socks at the ceremony.  Of course, they didn't, and that's their funny wedding story.  So Gary and I decided we'd go around Bastrop and to Camp Swift to take photos of what she remembers about her wedding day and honeymoon.  It was so interesting talking to old and young people.  We had a great time visiting the Bastrop Museum and the Courthouse, listening to stories and looking at old photos.
Nobody would flush Gary's port, so we will wait until Tennessee where he had it put in, and ask them to take it out! 
Tomorrow we are on our way again, up to a COE campground (our first) at Lake Lavon in northeast Dallas where we will meet up with our friends, Donna and Ron again for some FUN!